NFL trade news: Patriots send WR Brandin Cooks to Rams, stockpile draft picks

The Patriots have traded reciever Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round pick to the Rams for the 23rd overall pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the team announced Wednesday.

The Rams were linked to Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason but opted for Cooks, who was due a $8.5 million club option before the season.

The Brewers’ three shutouts this season have come against three of the toughest pitchers in the division: St. Louis’ Carlos Martinez, and along with the Cubs’ Jon Lester and Quintana.

“We’ve been pitching well. We have got to pick it up offensively, as much as anything,” Counsell said.

Cubs: RHP Tyler Chatwood (0-1) gets the ball for the home opener. He has a 1.50 ERA in two career starts against the Pirates.

Brewers: Jhoulys Chacin (0-1) takes the hill when the team opens a six-game road trip at St. Louis. The right-hander is 0-6 with a 5.89 career ERA against the Cardinals.

Martin reportedly had a loaded shotgun, a large knife and an axe in his car when police took him into custody Feb. 23. His girlfriend said Martin’s anger and depression had worsened over the last month and he began writing on the walls of his home.

The Instagram threat, which came from a private but verified account, included a photo of a gun and bullets and was hashtagged #HarvardWestlake and #MiamiDolphins. Former Dolphins teammates Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey, as well as two other people, were tagged in the post.

Martin was the target of bullying in the Dolphins locker room from 2012-13, largely perpetuated by Incognito and Pouncey. He was also apparently the victim of bullying at Harvard-Westlake, which filed a workplace violence prevention restraining order against Martin.

The requested order prohibits Martin from coming closer than 150 yards from the campus of his alma mater.

Martin, who hasn’t played in the NFL since 2015, has previously posted on social media that he suffered from depression and attempted to commit suicide.

Jon Gruden reportedly cut Marquette King over personality, not punting

That’s when Taylor and Dedmon took over.

Taylor tied it 103-all with a layup and, after Monroe made one of two free throws, Dedmon made a 3-pointer to give Atlanta its first lead since the score was 3-2. Jonathan Gibson made a 20-footer for Boston, then Dedmon’s dunk gave the Hawks the lead for good. Taylor followed with a layup to make it a four-point game with 26 seconds left.

Davis, 24, was taken into police custody and booked on making “criminal threats.” He was later released and has a May 3 court date, online records show.

The Packers released a statement saying they were aware of the situation.

“We are in the process of gathering more information and will refrain from making any further comment as it is an ongoing legal matter,” the statement read in part.

Davis, a fifth-round selection by the Packers in the 2016 NFL Draft, finished last season with five receptions for 70 yards and no touchdowns.

“It’s frustrating, it’s embarrassing,” he said. “I’m in the big leagues and I can’t throw strikes to anybody.”

Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier was out of the lineup because he was sick.

“It actually wasn’t a difficult decision because he was injured, but it was difficult to go ahead and go through with it, because he’s been with us all season long and we love Omri and what he brought to the team. A great teammate,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Sunday. “It was difficult to sit with him and tell him we were going to do this, but it’s the only decision we could make under the circumstances and we have to have Quinn for the playoffs and we couldn’t release everybody else.

“Everybody else is healthy and playing or under contract or team control for next year, in Patrick [McCaw’s] case. So this was the decision we had to come to. It wasn’t fun, but the main thing is that Omri is a pro and a great teammate. He handled everything beautifully last night.”

Casspi appeared in 53 games this season, starting seven, averaging 14 minutes of playing time, 5.7 points and 3.8 rebounds. He signed a one-year, veterans minimum contract with the Warriors last offseason.

New NFL rule bans plays on which player lowers head to initiate contact

In hopes to improve player safety the NFL announced a rule change Tuesday that will ban all plays on which a player lowers his head to initiate contact with his helmet.

For us this is a pretty significant change, NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay said during a news conference at the annual league meeting in Orlando. This is not situational protection. … In this, we’re basically getting to a technique that is just too dangerous for both the player doing it and the player that’s getting hit.

This has very little requirement to it. This is simply if you lower your head to initiate contact and you make contact with an opponent it’s a foul.

Playing Rule Article 8: It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. The player may be disqualified. Applies to any player anywhere on the field. The player may be disqualified.

Suarez came up again with two on in the eighth and drove a 0-1 fastball from George Kontos (0-1) over the wall in left. He finished with three hits.

Wandy Peralta (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win and Raisel Iglesias worked the ninth for his second save.

I thought they pitched really well, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. It wasn’t about our approach, it was that the pitching was really hard to hit from my perspective.

Cincinnati right-hander Sal Romano allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. He struck out one and walked one.

Machado’s five homers off Sabathia are the most he’s had against any pitcher in his career. It marked the shortest start of the young season for Sabathia. He lasted five innings and threw 84 pitches in his season debut last week at Toronto.

Sabathia, 37, was mostly healthy in spring training. He had an ankle injury that sidelined him briefly, but otherwise he made it to the regular season with no injury issues. Last season, he spent time on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring and right knee inflammation.

Drury and Wade were replaced in the sixth and ninth, respectively. According to Boone, Drury had issues with migraines and blurred vision. Wade was dealing with flu-like symptoms.

Panthers sale appears to be down to two bidders

The sale of the Panthers appears to be in the final stretches, and one bidder presumed to be a favorite is reportedly out.

According to Ken Belson of the New York Times, Steelers minority owner David Tepper is out of the bidding to buy the team from Jerry Richardson.

Since Tepper had already been approved to join the club, his bid would have been fast-tracked by other owners if his was the bid chosen by Richardson. But recent reports suggested he wasn’t prepared to be the high bidder, or to approach others.

Roseman has successfully tapped into free agency to sign a couple Pro Bowlers — safety Malcolm Jenkins in 2014 and guard Brandon Brooks in 2016 — plus leading tackler Nigel Bradham at linebacker in 2016. Foles also was brought back in ’16.

Roseman also acquired talented receiver Alshon Jeffery last season in free agency. He then worked the trade market for a top corner in Ronald Darby and a good running back in Jay Ajayi.

In Humboldt, the Chiefs joined thousands more who gathered in the Broncos’ 1,854-seat home arena. Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was in attendance. Chiefs players wore their blue and yellow jerseys and sat together in the stands. During the ceremony, some of the players cried. Others smiled, which Ditto says was as much catharsis as it was a step forward in the healing process.

The Delisle team will meet on Monday for the first time since the tragedy. “Our league is based out of Saskatchewan, just like they are, and we go to the same lengths they do,” Ditto said. “We know the roads they travel very well. I know that exact intersection [where the accident] happened.”

Ditto is dreading the idea of boarding a bus again. He knows how heart-wrenching it will be for him and his players. But at the same time, he will remind his team that, despite the tragedy, “the bus is still a safe way to travel. We need to keep reiterating that.”

There’s another thing Ditto wants his team to remember.

Johnny Manziel turns in mediocre performance in Spring League game

Johnny Manziel has returned to the football field, but he’s a long way from a return to the NFL.

Manziel completed nine of 15 passes for 82 yards with one touchdown and three sacks in his first game for The Spring League, a minor league that Manziel is hoping will showcase his talent to NFL scouts.

After the game, Manziel admitted that his team’s offense was sloppy at times but said he was glad to be playing football again.

Two additional distinctions from the NFL and college product:

Every drive will start at the offense’s 25-yard line with no kickoff. As for onside kick attempts . . .

“If a team elected to onsides kick at any point in the game, they get the ball on their 35-yard line with fourth-and-10,” Polian said. “It’s do-or-die. If you make it, you keep going. If you don’t, the other team gets the ball on your 35-yard line.”

There will be just four possible replays per game two per team with no “Big Brother” like the NFL’s officiating headquarters at 345 Park Ave. in New York.

“You continue to be a fan and I will continue being the man,” Sanders told Byard.

Yesterday, as the Titans unveiled their redesigned uniforms, they posted a video that showed the players reacting as they saw their new jerseys for the first time. One of the players featured in the video was Byard, who wore a shirt with “Just a Fan” printed on it.

Byard is clearly using Sanders’ slight as offseason motivation, aiming for another All-Pro selection in 2018. Perhaps by then Sanders will know who he is.

None of this is fair to Beckham. Whether it’s Cris Carter or Ray Lewis, criticism from prominent former players could be rooted in the fact that Beckham has decided not to kiss the ring. Lewis specifically equates Beckham’s troubles to the fact that they made a connection and Beckham eventually ended it. Who’s to say that Beckham didn’t simply decide after some of their interactions that Lewis was making no sense and, in turn, providing no benefit?

True significance of new helmet rule remains unknown

More than a week after the NFL passed a new rule that appears to represent a seismic change to football as we know it, it’s still not clear to media and fans what the rule will, or won’t, be. It’s also not clear to coaches as to what the prohibition against lowering the helmet to initiate impact means.

“I think it’s a work in progress,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said during a Wednesday visit to PFT Live. “I know that we had great meetings. For me, it was one of the best owners meetings that I’ve been to in the five years I’ve been the head coach here.

“Last year, there were five or six plays where you could say that that the head was used as a weapon,” O’Brien said. “There weren’t a ton of plays. We have to continue to work towards taking the head out of the game. That’s really something that we’re doing with the way we teach, with the way we officiate, the way we scheme. Everything that we do we’re thinking about those things. I think we’re on the right track, but I think it’s going to take a while to get that over the next 60 to 90 days get that rule written exactly the way we want it so that the officials can officiate it properly.”

“There was no fighting, there was no pushing,” attorney Rusty Hardin told NJ.com. “The entire thing is ludicrous. That’s what I think we’ll find when it’s all over.”

The charge Bennett is facing is serious: It’s injury to the elderly, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Bennett is accused of pushing his way onto the field in Houston to celebrate after his brother, then-Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, and his team won the Super Bowl. In the process, the authorities allege, Bennett injured an elderly paraplegic woman who was working on the event staff at the game.

But Hardin said Bennett is not overly concerned because he knows he’s innocent and believes that when all the evidence comes to light, the charges will be shown to be trumped up.

Vontae Davis “able to do everything” after groin surgery

Right after signing with the Bills as a free agent in early March, cornerback Vontae Davis said he wasn’t sure what his workload would be during the team’s offseason program.

Davis had groin surgery after being released by the Colts last November and said he would “probably be limited” when the Bills got to work. Davis revisited the issue more recently, however, and his outlook regarding what he’s ready to do has changed over the last month.

Grizzlies: MarShon Brooks, who averaged nearly 24 points over his first five games with the team since joining last month fresh from the Chinese league, missed 12 of 16 shots against tough defense from Butler and finished with 14 points.

“Just going out there playing hard, making them work for everything,” Brooks said.

Timberwolves: Backup center Cole Aldrich, who has logged just 49 minutes all season, was honored before the game with the Flip Saunders Legacy Award for community service in honor of the team’s late executive and coach. Aldrich had an assist in the final minute.

The Bucs made him a fifth-round pick in 2012, and he played in three games as a rookie before joining the Eagles. In his career, Goode has played 64 games with four starts.

He has 42 tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack and four pass breakups in his career. Goode also has contributed 42 special teams tackles as a core special teams player.

“(There were) five or six times in a four- or five-month period where I spent a full 24 hours at (Collins’) office, working with him until he felt comfortable giving me the green light,” said Cravens, who was cleared to resume football activities in December.

With all of that, though, Washington clearly was motivated to get closure. After picking Cravens in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft and seeing him play himself into the team’s long-term plans as a rookie when he was healthy, Washington a year later ended up netting a fifth-round pick, a conditional sixth-rounder and earlier picks in this year’s fourth and fifth rounds for him.

Gray, Yankees bounce back against Orioles, win 8-3

Gray (1-0) dodged trouble with his final batter thanks to newcomer Jace Peterson, who was signed to a major league contract before the game. With runners on second and third and two outs, Peterson snagged Pedro Alvarez’s hard-hit liner on the run, slamming into the left-field wall after making an acrobatic catch.

“You’ve got to prepare to be ready for this opportunity always, no matter what happens in the spring or what happens the day before,” said Peterson, who had played just 40 of his 383 big league games in left field before Saturday. “I was fortunate to run it down and make the play.”

David Robertson entered in the seventh with one out and runners on second and third, fanning the dangerous Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop to preserve the 5-3 lead. Robertson struck out four of the five batters he faced.

For Hurst, there’s no new information to obtain. Doctors flagged the heart problem and prevented him from working out at the Scouting Combine. He later received separate clearance to participate in the Michigan Pro Day.

It’s not uncommon, either as to internal or orthopedic issues, for players to be prevented from working out in Indianapolis. Given that the Combine workouts are lower on the list of priorities than medical examinations or interviews, the folks in charge of the Combine will err on the side of caution when it comes to potentially letting an overly-competitive player assume a risk that, objectively speaking, is unnecessary.

For heart problems, there’s a separate component to the decision to keep players from working out. If the worst-case scenario happens at a time when doctors know or should know there’s a problem, there could be moral, and legal, responsibility.

Calgary entered the night in an offensive funk, having mustered only nine goals over the previous nine games, eight of them losses. The seven goals was the club’s biggest offensive outburst since a 7-4 victory over St. Louis on Nov. 13.

“It’s one of those things. Tonight, for some reason, everything bounced in and I think we could have had even more,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said. “It’s nice to end it on that note, but it’s been a tough year and obviously a disappointing year.”

Before the game, players from both teams and the officials formed a circle at center ice for a moment of silence for the 15 people who lost their lives in the Humboldt Broncos bus accident.

“You have those guys, that community, the team, on your mind all day,” Giordano said. “We’re one big community, the hockey community, there’s a lot of people feeling this one.”

Afterward, the Saddledome crowd broke into a chant of “Broncos! Broncos!”

Aside from Shohei Ohtani, which rookies impressed the most in week 1?

Tristan H. Cockcroft:It’s Jack Flaherty – yes, a guy now in the minor leagues – for me, which probably says more about how uninspiring the besides-Ohtani rookie class has been through 11 days than anything. That’s no knock on Colin Moran, Brian Anderson or Tyler Mahle, each of whom has had his moments, but Flaherty’s nine-strikeout performance against the Milwaukee Brewers on the road (at that hitter-friendly ballpark) stands above the rest as the key Week 1 takeaway.

That said, it’s Yonny Chirinos who gets my nod. The Tampa Bay pitcher, part of manager Kevin Cash’s “No. 4 starter collective,” took the mound twice over the first week of the season, holding the Boston lineup scoreless for nine full frames — striking out seven and allowing just four hits. The injured Brent Honeywell may have been the one getting all the hype, but it was Chirinos who was named the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 2017.

The Rays *should* just place him in the rotation and see what he can do. He’s not likely to continue to outscore the likes of Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco, but he absolutely needs to be on more than just 2.1 percent of rosters, even if Cash continues to use him in his current capacity.

As of Monday morning, the Cowboys were the NFL’s only club not to officially sign a free-agent or re-sign one of their own players since the marketplace opened five days earlier. It’s quite the statement considering even franchises that traditionally are loath to dip into free agency, like Green Bay and Cincinnati, have done just that.

Dallas is hamstrung because of previous decisions that left the Cowboys with less salary cap room (around $2 million) than any other team heading into the NFL’s calendar year. Two recent transactions — cornerback Orlando Scandrick’s release and the restructuring of center Travis Frederick’s contract — have given Dallas a bit more space for moves like the re-signing of long snapper L.P. Ladouceur, which reportedly will happen Monday. Reports say Dallas will be meeting with New England tackles Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle. The arrival of either could pave the way for La’el Collins’ return to left guard.

But as for those top players who were initially available in free agency, that first wave has crested. The Cowboys’ top unsigned player was part of it, as linebacker Anthony Hitchens surfed to a five-year, $45 million deal with Kansas City; Dallas simply could not match.

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the only outside marquee talent Dallas reportedly tried to sign, also went to the Chiefs.

Broncos to acquire DB Su’a Cravens in trade with Redskins

Su’a Cravens is getting a fresh start.

The Washington Redskins are trading the 22-year-old safety to the Denver Broncos, a person with knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the deal.

After initially announcing in the preseason that he intended to retire for medical and personal reasons, Cravens missed all of last season on the reserve/left squad list. In December, his agent, Fadde Mikhail, announced that Cravens had been medically cleared to resume all football activities.

Football evolution is a history of offensive innovation leading to defensive adjustment. O’Brien has little choice but to stay ahead of the curve before brilliant defensive minds adjust — as they’ve done in the past with dual-threat quarterbacks operating in heavily schemed attacks.

The Giants have hitched their wagon to Manning for at least one more season, and it’s ludicrous for them to believe they have a better chance of maximizing the two-time Super Bowl winner’s window without Beckham. Next, even if New York’s plan is to instead draft a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick and move on from Manning in 2019 when his cap savings will be $17 million, then keeping Beckham is still the most logical option. Paying $20 million to a receiver is a lot more palatable when your starting quarterback is locked into a cheap rookie deal for the foreseeable future

Plus, what better gift could you give to a developing young passer than a game-breaking receiver who’s proven himself capable of carrying an offense And while some may balk at the prospect of paying a non-quarterback/pass-rusher that amount of money, the NFL clearly is valuing receivers more than ever. Beckham’s draftmate Sammy Watkins, who has one 1,000-yard season on his resume, was just given $16 million per season. Paul Richardson received a contract worth $10 million annually, and he has three fewer career receiving yards than Beckham produced in his rookie campaign alone.